Changes in Toyokoro schools

Within this past month in Hokkaido, the cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) have both bloomed and died.

Within this past month in Hokkaido, the cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) have both bloomed and died.

There are some areas in the city of Obihiro where it was absolutely beautiful for two weeks, before the blossoms changed colour and left.

One street in particular, is long and narrow, bordered with sakura, and at the end is the biggest Shinto Shrine in Obihiro.

While the trees were in bloom, it was gorgeous.

A couple months ago, I mentioned that in March, there is a pretty big change over in schools and offices.

Teachers, and some office workers are uprooted with as little as a two-week notice, and are told that they are being transferred. I have been to all of my schools, and my board of education office, and I’ve met all of my new coworkers.

Some of them have lived in cities for years, and have never driven before, but now they’re in a very rural area, and they’re required to drive. Some have interesting and innovative ideas, which add a fresh outlook on teaching.

I’m constantly going back and forth, and I’m struggling with the idea of being in their shoes.

Since I’ve only been here for around 10 months, I’ve only seen the change-over once while some other assistant language teachers have seen it three, four or five times depending on how long they’ve been here.

Sometimes, it’s very helpful, because in schools with more trouble students than usual, it’s nice to have a constant change in teaching techniques if something isn’t working. Or if a teacher is struggling with their students, they are allowed a restart within four years.

But, nonetheless, I can’t help but feel a bit sad losing my coworkers every year.

One story of how difficult some people find it is: One night, I was sitting at my friend’s house when his door opened. It was around 11 p.m. and we weren’t expecting anyone.

Then his shoe room’s door opened and a young, lost Japanese woman walked in and stared at the wall in front of her, obviously confused by the mess.

Then she noticed two foreigners sitting on her couch, and I could practically see her panicking and thinking ‘why are these foreigners in my house?’

Soon enough, we figured out where she lived and we walked her home. It turned out; she had just been transferred from Tokyo, (almost 100 times more people than in Obihiro) and she was finding it a bit difficult to adjust to the size.

Thanks for reading! This month’s proverb – “anzuru yori ga yasushi” – giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it (fear is greater than danger/ fear cuts deeper than swords).

Anna Marshall is in Summerland’s sister city of Toyokoro, Japan as the assistant English teacher.